50/50 Doctors give it 100%: Dr Krystle Chong

‘50/50 Doctors’ are a team of Monash Health Women’s and Newborn doctors who split their time working 50% on research and 50% in their clinical role. The ‘50/50 Doctors’ series of articles highlights three areas where these new roles have given doctors valuable time to research while maintaining a connection to the clinical setting and better enable practical innovations that improve patient experience and outcomes.

First in the series is the work of Dr Krystle Chong, the first registrar appointed as a 50/50 Doctor. Krystle divides her time as an Obstetrics and Gynaecology Registrar at Monash Health and an Adjunct Research Associate at Monash University’s Clinical Trials Unit in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department.

In 2019, Dr Krystle Chong worked with Professor Ben Mol, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash Women’s service, on a novel approach to evaluating interventions in women’s health. It was during her involvement with this research that the opportunity to become a 50/50 Doctor transpired.

“The research we worked on was titled the ‘Traffic Lights Study’, which is a novel approach to assessing the effectiveness of interventions in women’s health and grading them as green, amber or red, with green being the best outcomes,” said Krystle. “I subsequently presented the study as part of a ‘Chairman’s Choice’ presentation at the Australasian Gynaecological and Endoscopy Surgery meeting in March 2020. Before that, Professor Mol asked if I was interested in pursuing research in a new formalised role with an even split between clinical and research work. I accepted this great opportunity as I recognised the value of staying connected to patients and colleagues in the clinical setting has in applying research insights to practical improvements.”

“The 50/50 research component of my new role encompasses many research topics and projects, the largest of which is the formation of a core outcome set in ectopic pregnancy. The work involves bringing together and coordinating collaboration between an international group of researchers across six continents and 12 countries with associated health professionals and patients. We want to ensure outcomes important to these groups are represented in all future research.

“Current published data involves many different outcomes that are reported in different ways. The aim of developing a core outcome set is to standardise research outcomes in published literature. Standardisation allows like-for-like comparison between studies and, in effect, multiplies the results across studies around the globe to increase their significance when informing clinical practice,” explained Krystle.

Working in this way boosts understanding and improvements to patient outcomes, just like pulling together pieces of a jigsaw from around the world to build a clearer picture. It also means juggling many timezones to foster international collaboration with emails at 3am now a routine part of everyday life. But Krystle is loving the challenges and making significant inroads in just her second year at Monash Health and the Clinical Trials Unit.

The last 12 months have been particularly busy, but rewarding, with Krystle continuing the Traffic Lights Study research through a focus group of junior medical staff and devoting her time to her new 50/50 Doctors research. “I’ve always wanted to continue researching, and the ability to do this with a formalised role has been amazing. I was appointed as an Adjunct Research Associate with Monash University, a position I will continue into 2021, so I’ve got so many great opportunities. Although initially anxious about the unknowns that such a new role presented, I’m now delighted I took the plunge to be the first registrar appointed as a 50/50 Doctor. It goes without saying that without Professor Mol’s continuing enthusiasm, encouragement and guidance, none of this would be possible.  “I look forward to my ongoing research work with him at Monash Health, in whatever role that may be,” said Krystle.  We wish Krystle every success with the 50/50 Doctors role, her essential research outcomes, and of course, the early morning emails!

Authorised by Professor Ben Mol, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash Women’s 



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